Objectives. Despite increasing risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), few data are available concerning the factors associated with risky sexual behavior among African American young adults who do not attend college. Additionally, the possibility that different risk mechanisms affect men and women remains understudied. This article reports on the risk and protective factors associated with unprotected intercourse and gender differences in these factors' influence among this group. Predictors were derived from ecological and self-regulatory theories of risk behavior. Methods. African Americans aged 18-21 years were recruited via respondentdriven sampling (RDS) from seven contiguous rural counties. Risk and protective factors for unprotected intercourse were analyzed for 214 of 292 participants who reported sexual intercourse during the past three months. Results. Among sexually active participants, 62.6% used condoms inconsistently. The influence of leaving the parental home, perceived discrimination, risk-taking peers, family relationships, risk-taking propensity, and binge drinking on unprotected intercourse were moderated by gender. Positive attitudes toward condom use were associated with less unprotected intercourse controlling for the influence of risk variables for both men and women. Conclusions. Men and women have unique STI prevention needs. Additional research addressing these needs is necessary, particularly for rural African American men.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health